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The Palestine Flora

Nature volume 162, pages 286287 (21 August 1948) | Download Citation



THE trouble in Palestine sets back the clock on the recent efforts of both Arab and Jewish gardeners to develop the horticultural attractions of the Holy Land, for the palm boulevards of Jaffa, and the flower-growing settlements at Mishmar-Hasharon, etc., had attracted much praise and attention. The danger, however, goes deeper, for modern Palestine was not the primitive wilderness of brigand and bedouin as depicted in most of the Western religious books. Several excellent gardens and plant collections were in the country, and their future is threatened by the bitterness of war. There is, for example, the best of the attempts to create a typically English garden, with its lawns and roses, its rockery and its pergola, which was in the grounds of Government House on the dry and dusty hill outside Jerusalem. On besieged Mount Scopus the botanical department of the University of Jerusalem housed the finest herbarium of the Near East flora, with more than 300,000 sheets of specimens collected not only in Palestine, but also in Syria, Arabia, Transjordan, and in particular the desert regions. There was also the private collection of Palestine and Transjordan plants collected in the American Colony in Jerusalem by J. E. Dinsmore, editor of the second edition of Post‘s "Flora of Palestine and Syria", where also the garden of a score of varieties of Palestine irises was a famous feature in April. Another internationally famous private herbarium, the largest outside the University, is the Herbarium Boyko, housed at the village of Talpioth, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, in the home of Dr. Hugo Boyko, its compiler, an official of the Mandatory Government‘s Department of Forests.

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